Hallie Bryant

Photo: IU Archives

Hallie Bryant is an American basketball player from Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1953, Bryant was named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball and later went on to play for Indiana University between 1954 and 1957 under head coach Branch McCracken. He then went on to play for the legendary Harlem Globetrotters.

  • Name: Hallie Bryant
  • Position: Guard
  • Nationality: USA
  • Age: 90 years old
  • Birthday: January 24, 1934
  • Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • High School: Crispus Attucks High School (Indianapolis, Indiana)
  • Height: 6’2″ (188 cm)
  • Weight: 198 lbs (90 kg)
  • Seasons: 3 (1954-55, 1955-56, 1956-57)
  • Jersey: #21

Hallie Bryant’s Seasons with the Hoosiers

1954-1955 Indiana Basketball Season
Branch McCracken (14th Season)
8-14 (5-9 Big Ten)
6th Place Big Ten

1955-1956 Indiana Basketball Season
Branch McCracken (15th Season)
13-9 (6-8 Big Ten)
6th Place Big Ten

1956-1957 Indiana Basketball Season
Branch McCracken (16th Season)
14-8 (10-4 Big Ten)
🏆 1st Place Big Ten

Hallie Bryant Statistics at Indiana University

Season G FGM FGA FG% FTM FTA FT% Pts Avg
1954-1955 20 32 112 0.286 17 21 0.81 81 4.1
1955-1956 21 114 321 0.355 74 89 0.831 302 14.4
1956-1957 19 90 185 0.486 58 91 0.637 238 12.5
Career 60 236 618 0.382 149 201 0.741 621 10.4

Hallie Bryant’s High School Career

Bryant attended Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was part of the teams that started the school’s decade of dominance in the 1950s. In 1951, Bryant led the team to the State Final Four. Bryant then won the 1953 Indiana Mr. Basketball, just three years before Oscar Robertson (another Attucks graduate) secured the award.

In the Indiana-Kentucky All-Stars game, Bryant was named the “Star of Stars” in both games during the summer of 1953. During one of these games, Bryant received a threatening letter in the mail stating that either he or a family member would be injured if Bryant played in the game and that if he was to sit out he would receive $500 in the mail. This threat came on the heels of the Indianapolis Olympians professional basketball team scandal where the team’s star players were accused of taking bribes during games at the University of Kentucky. This scandal caused the team to go out of business. Similarly, the game was going to be played at Butler Fieldhouse, which was widely known for having gambling activity conducted in the stands during games. As a result, the game was moved to a different location and Bryant decided to play.

Many believe Bryant was the most heavily-recruited Indiana high school player ever up until that point in time. He had offers from UCLA (under a young John Wooden), Michigan State, Michigan, and Purdue before he eventually chose IU.

Hallie Bryant’s Indiana University Career

In college, Bryant’s career did not quite go according to plan. He sat out his freshman season and had a solid college career, but one that likely did not meet expectations. Bryant saw playing time in three seasons with the Hoosiers under coach Branch McCracken. In his first season on the court, he appeared in 20 games and averaged 4.1 PPG. IU struggled as a team only winning 8 games.

Photo: IU Archives

In 1955-1956, Bryant had his best season with IU. He took nearly three times as many shots in his second season, going from 5.6 attempts to 15.3 field goal attempts per game. As a result, his production substantially increased. He averaged 14.4 points and 2.7 rebounds per game while shooting 35.5% from the field. The team improved to 13-9 but finished sixth in the Big Ten.

In his final season as a Hoosier, he posted 11.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Indiana finished 14-8 overall and first in the Big Ten with a conference record of 10-4.

Many believe Bryant did not have the best relationship with coach McCracken; however, Bryant has noted he respected McCracken and was not interested in discussing the past, preferring to “let sleeping dogs lie.”

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Hallie Bryant’s Professional Career

Bryant was not drafted into the NBA, but had a workout with the St. Louis Hawks. Although he was praised by the coaching staff in practice, St. Louis had a very good team that would end up winning the championship that season and, therefore, only had a few roster spots available. At the time, the NBA only consisted of eight teams with no more than 10 players per team. As a result, it was very difficult to break through as a free agent. Similarly, race likely was also an additional factor. St. Louis did not have any black players on the roster the previous season and released the only black player on the 1957-1958 roster after only four games. Many historians believe this was likely another cause for his rejection from the squad.

Nonetheless, his rejection from the NBA was a blessing in disguise. Bryant ended up playing for the legendary Harlem Globetrotters. St. Louis’s management recommended Bryant to the team and one of Bryant’s high school teammates also suggested the Globetrotters add Bryant. He ended up playing 13 seasons with the squad, traveling to 88 countries. Bryant noted that many of the countries they went to had never seen a black player before. It became a learning opportunity for both the players and the fans.

After his playing career, he spent another 14 seasons working for the Harlem Globetrotters public relations staff.

Bryant has also worked as a motivational speaker, author, and charity fundraiser. He is known for his witty nuggets of wisdom and positive disposition.

Hallie Bryant Videos

Contributor: Mike Pudlow